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T-Shirts Embellished with Machine Applique
For this project we used the designs from the T-shirt Applique Set.
These are all very easy to do and look unique!

You will need :
  • embroidery threads either polyester or rayon, any color,
  • an old T-shirt or jersey fabric for a test run,
  • a new T-shirt,
  • fabric for the applique, (we'll describe each applique fabric we used for each T-shirt),
  • light-weight embroidery stabilizer for jersey fabrics, such as "No Show" mesh by Sulky or Floriani,
  • applique scissors,
  • iron,
  • additional embellishments, such as small beads or rhinestones, are welcome, but not necessary.
NOTE: Before you start embroidery on a new T-shirt, make a test run of the design and the technique you've chosen on an old T-shirt or scrap jersey fabric.

Read the instructions on how to embroider the designs from the set.
Embroidery with Traditional Applique:
For the traditional applique you place the light-weight stabilizer under the base fabric, hoop them, and place the applique fabric over the hoop.

As applique fabric, you can use different thin fabrics.

Cotton is the easiest fabric to handle. For this men's T-shirt, we chose the eagle design and quilt cotton applique fabric.

We recommend to prewash quilt cotton fabrics before using them for applique. It's a good idea to starch the fabric after washing.

For this pink T-shirt we used the rose design and red cotton batik. Batiks are very good for applique - they practically do not shrink and their colors do not run. However, better to check this before embroidering.

For the T-shirt with the fish design, we also used cotton batik.
For the T-shirt with the lizard we used thin faux suede.
T-shirts with Reverse Applique
To embroider the reversed applique, you need to hoop 3 layers: base fabric on top, applique fabric under the base fabric, then stabilizer under the applique fabric. The base fabric will be cut to reveal the applique fabric underneath. We show two T-shirts, using the reverse applique files from the T-shirt Applique Set.
In both cases we used batiks as applique fabrics and "No Show" mesh as stabilizer. See instructions on how to embroider these files.

We cut away the base fabric, light jersey, close to the stitches, but with 2-3 mm margins, so that after washing the margins will slightly curl, which will give the picture a fashionable "distressed" look.

Some More Ideas for the Reverse Applique designs
For the next two T-shirts we also used the reverse applique files, but placed the applique fabric over the base fabric. This also gives interesting results, depending on what applique fabric you use.
For the first T-shirt we use non-fraying thin polyester. Make layers of: stabilizer - base fabric and applique fabric. If your applique fabric is not large enough to be hooped, place it over the hoop but secure with pins or tape.

Embroider a reversed applique file. We used metallic thread for this applique.

After the embroidery is finished, cut away the applique fabric around each closed shape very close to the stitches. Take care not to cut through the stitches and the base fabric. Cut away the excess stabilizer.

Close-up of the embroidery.
For the applique of the second T-shirt we used light jersey fabric .

Hoop 3 layers: stabilizer - base fabric - applique fabric. Embroider the design.

Open the hoop. Cut away the applique fabric around the closed shapes leaving 2-3 mm margins. You can leave wider margins. After the wash they will fray and curl.

Cut away the excess stabilizer.
Have fun!
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